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Personal records must be secured - Ruane

11 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has told education bodies that pupil records must be kept securely.

The Minister updated the Assembly on the discovery of pupil records near a Newry and Mourne Council amenities facility at Camlough last month.

The Minister said:

"The PSNI investigation identified that the documents originated from the former residence of a past employee of the Education Welfare Service. At that time it was customary for welfare officers to work from home. Officers leaving the service were expected to return all files and that clearly did not happen in this case.
"I have written to the Education and Library Boards and other main education providers stressing the importance of ensuring all personal records are properly stored and disposed off as appropriate.

"I am concerned that public representatives, who these documents were passed to, facilitated the media to photograph some of the documents. The media have been requested to return the documents which were sent to them.

"The investigation has shown that this incident is not attributable to any current member of staff of the Southern Education and Library Board, nor has there been any breach of current procedures for the storage and disposal of documents of this kind. Former members of staff have been contacted to confirm they do not hold any such documentation.

"These documents relate to the period 1965 to 1974 and recorded education welfare issues associated with pupils who attended a number of schools in the area. Despite strenuous efforts, the Southern Education and Library Board has only been able to contact one of the pupils the documents relate to. The Board has expressed regret for any distress caused and I would also offer my regrets to all involved." ENDS

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